Over the past couple of years, thousands of readers have followed the blood-soaked adventures of Owen the Barbarian and his talking axe in the viscerally violent, eerily ominous, and endlessly entertaining Vault Comics series Barbaric, written by Michael Moreci with artwork by Nathan Gooden! Now the world of Barbaric is expanding with the first issue of Queen of Swords (written by Moreci with artwork by Corin Howell), and we caught up with Moreci in a new Q&A feature to discuss fleshing out the world of Barbaric, collaborating with the talented artists Gooden and Howell, and plans for another Barbaric spinoff!

You can read our full Q&A with Michael Moreci below, be sure to visit Vault Comics' official website for more information, and check out our previous post to read Barbaric #1 in its entirety as well as an extended preview of Queen of Swords #1!

Also, keep an eye out for our Q&A with Barbaric artist Nathan Gooden on Friday!

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for us, Michael, and congratulations on the success of Barbaric! What has your reaction been to seeing so many readers embrace the blood-soaked mayhem of this comic book series so far?

Michael Moreci: I really couldn’t be more grateful. As someone who’s prided himself on taking the eschewing, for the most part, working on IP comics in favor of creating original content, it’s been extremely rewarding, and gratifying, to have an original title take off. It’s becoming a rarer and rarer thing these days, something I’m acutely aware of, and that only deepens my gratitude.

I absolutely love the bold blend of visceral violence, morbid comedy, high-stakes horror, and flat-out fun storytelling in Barbaric. How important is it for you to find that unique tonal balance while working on this series?

Michael Moreci: It’s pretty vital, but it’s also just how my mind works. I don’t love just one genre, and I don’t get, personally, how some people can more or less write one thing for their entire career. I like doing it all—humor, horror, violence, moments of quiet, etc. It keeps me, as a writer, engaged and interested.

Nathan Gooden’s artwork in Barbaric is amazing. Michael, what has it been like to collaborate with Nathan to bring the world of Barbaric to life in gory fashion?

Michael Moreci: Nathan’s one of the best people going—talented, kind, patient, generous. It’s a privilege to collaborate with someone of his caliber, as a person and an artist.

After several captivating story arcs centered on Owen the Barbarian and his constant companion Axe, the world of Barbaric is expanding with the spinoff series Queen of Swords! When did you initially come up with the idea for Queen of Swords, and what made Serra, Ka, and Deadheart the perfect trio to follow through the realm in the spinoff series?

Michael Moreci: I actually don’t quite recall. We planned the spinoff some time ago, and my main goal was to run with a series that took us fully away from Axe, Soren, and Owen. Serra became that perfect vehicle—she’s separated enough from that trio, and she has a personality all her own, and it’s really different from what we’ve seen. The real trick was forming the team around her; it took some acrobatics (seen in Hell to Pay, our most recent Barbaric arc) to pull that off.

I love Corin Howell’s artwork for Queen of Swords. What has it been like working with Corin to give Queen of Swords its own distinct style while still fitting in with the overall unique look of Barbaric?

Michael Moreci: She’s the best. A wonderfully talented artist who infuses every page with so much life and energy. I’d want to work with Corin for years to come. She’s amazing.

Can you talk about your experience with sword-and-sorcery movies and comics, and how they influenced your work on Barbaric and Queen of Swords? Do you have any movie or comic book recommendations for our readers who love the Barbaric universe and want to read or watch more?

Michael Moreci: Weirdly, I don’t have all that much experience. That might be blasphemy for someone in my position to say, but I’ve got to be honest. I mean, I’ve read some Conan, seen the movies; I’ve watched Beastmaster and stuff like that, but it’s not like I’m a Robert E. Howard scholar. For Barbaric, it’s all about the idea—a grumpy barbarian cursed to do good, led by a bloodthirsty axe as a moral guide—that drives the story. More that, less the conventions of the genre.

Do you have plans to continue expanding the world of Barbaric with other spinoff series?

Michael Moreci: Without a doubt. I already know what the next spinoff is!

What has it been like to work with Vault Comics to release Barbaric and the upcoming Queen of Swords into the world?

Michael Moreci: Well, Vault’s been my home for many years now. I can’t imagine it any other way!

What advice would you give to aspiring comic book writers who are just getting started?

Michael Moreci: Very simple: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get discouraged—and even when you do make it, the marathon doesn’t end. In the words of Dory: you just have to keep swimming.

With the first two volumes of Barbaric and the first issue of Queen of Swords now available, can you tease what lies ahead for readers of the Barbaric universe, and do you have any other upcoming projects that you can tease?

Michael Moreci: The biggest thing is for readers to keep reading Barbaric and keep spreading the word. We’ve got a lot to come—there’s the Nicholas Eames one-shot coming later this year (Nick is the author of Kings of the Wyld, one of the best fantasy novels ever written) and the new Barbaric arc, Born in Blood, coming as well. 2024 is going to bring even more stories—we’re not stopping, so stick with us!


Barbaric Vol. 1: Murderable Offenses: Owen The Barbarian has an axe. And he's gonna do good with it if he has to kill someone.

Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches.

Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! F***ing with you. It’s just…BARBARIC.

Michael Moreci (Writer), Nathan Gooden (Artist, Cover Artist), Addison Duke (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer)

Barbaric Vol. 2: Axe to Grind: Owen The Barbarian has an axe. And he's gonna do good with it if he has to kill someone.

As one of Entertainment Weekly’s “10 Best Comics of 2021,” Barbaric – featuring Owen the Barbarian and his bloodthirsty companion Axe – returns in a whirlwind of blood, humor, and mayhem with an evil demigod, vampires, and rampaging monsters! Hailed as one of the best comics of 2021 by Entertainment Weekly, Thrillist, Screen Rant, and more, bestselling BARBARIC returns with its second explosive volume!

Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! F***ing with you. It’s just BARBARIC.

When a foe from Owen's past returns, he embarks on a bloody mission to succeed where he once failed and kill a malevolent demigod. Which suits Axe just fine, considering he hasn't gotten drunk on god blood yet! Meanwhile, Owen's former barbarian comrade, now a timid vampire, gets cold feet about a life of violence. But in the world of BARBARIC, where orcs, giant spiders, and devil bats roam the land, and doing good is full of gore, is there any other way? For fans of BRZRKR!, The Witcher, Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Heathen, Rat Queens, and Dungeons and Dragons! Collects the second three-issue miniseries (Axe to Grind) and the special one-shot standalone (Harvest Blades)! It’s just … BARBARIC! This title collects Barbaric: Axe to Grind #1 to #3.

Michael Moreci (Writer), Nathan Gooden (Artist, Cover Artist), Addison Duke (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer)

Queen of Swords #1: "Spinning out of the pages of BARBARIC comes an all-new, standalone, rip-roaring fantasy adventure, filled with mayhem, humor, and a bloodthirsty weapon that just won't stop talking! Serra is a witch with a checkered past; Ka is an assassin with an agenda all her own, and Deadheart is a barbarian who wants to bash everyone in her path. They'll have to unite their unique skills to track down a powerful foe who's tied their lives together. Get ready to meet your new favorite instrument of death-the evil Ga'Bar, whose spirit is now trapped in Deadheart's sword!

Discover the origin of the dark magic that turned Soren into the tattooed witch she is today, in this totally new story, the perfect place to step into the world of BARBARIC for the first time!"

Creative Team: (Writer) Michael Moreci (Cover Artist) K.J. Diaz (Artist/Cover Artist) Corin Howell (Letterer) Jim Campbell

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.